From Geoffrey Anyanwu and Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Governors from southern Nigeria have expressed support for the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by state governments.
The governors, who met at the Government House, Enugu, reaffirmed their commitment to structural and fiscal federalism.
At the meeting which only Anambra State was not represented, the governor reiterated their earlier position that the next president must come from the southern part in line with politics of equity, justice and fairness.
In a six-point communique read by chairman of the forum and Governor of Ondo state, Oluwarotimí Akeredólu (SAN), the governors said they reviewed the state of the nation and the progress of implementation of the decisions reached in their previous meetings.
He said the governors resolved and affirmed the position that the collection of VAT fell within the powers of state governments.
“We resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the state.
“The meeting reaffirmed its earlier commitments to fiscal federalism and emphasised the need to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the on-going constitutional amendment,’’ he said.
Akeredolu urged states in the south to leverage on the competence of their houses of assembly and representation at the National Assembly to pursue the goal.
He said the meeting reviewed the state of the nation and the progress made in the implementation of the ban on open grazing of cattle in the south of Nigeria.
“The meeting expressed satisfaction with the rate at which states in the south of Nigeria are amending or enacting the anti-open grazing law.
“This aligns with the uniform template and aspiration of governors in the south and we encourage the states that have yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.
“The meeting agreed to encourage the full operationalisation of the already agreed regional security which will share intelligence and collaborate toward the safety and security of the region.’’
Akeredolu said the governors were satisfied with the handling of issues surrounding the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and ownership of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by the larger Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF).
Nine governors and seven deputies out of the 17 states in the southern Nigeria attended the meeting.
Governors present were Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.
Others were Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun State), Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun State).
The deputy governors were Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti State), Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo State), Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi), Ude Oko-Chukwu (Abia), Philip Shuaibu (Edo), Ivara Esu (Cross River) and Placid Njoku (Imo).
The next meeting of the governors holds in Rivers in November.